Batswana to Use Communal Land Effectively
The Vice President of Botswana, Mr Slumber Tsogwane, encouraged farmers at the Botswana National Agriculture show, which was held on the 19th-25th August 2019, to optimise the use of communal lands for food production. He explained that the 2019 theme “Enabling Food Security through Profitable communal farming practices” was appropriate as a lot of value can be derived from farming in communal areas. He said that farmers could sustainably and fully utilise their land it could contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and growth of the economy. Mr Tsogwane mentioned that government fully supports communal farming as it contributes to the improvement of the agricultural sector. It also helps in the fight against unemployment and economic empowerment to the farming families.
Mr Tsogwane encouraged Batswana to come up with strategies that will promote and increase food production in this competitive global world. This will alleviate food insufficiency, which poses a threat to the nation’s sovereignty.
He indicated that the Drought Assessment carried out in the first quarter of this financial year underscored effects of drought on the production of both plants and livestock. This resulted in the government introducing interventions such as a 35% subsidy in livestock feeds and vaccines. A further intervention of increase of P 3 per kg on carcass mass to cattle destined to BMC was made to encourage farmers to sell their cattle and avoid the looming drought. Furthermore, the Batswana government has revived Lobu Small Stock Farm for training and production of commercial and high-quality small stock for replication across the country. Markets Centers for the products have been identified, and other farms are being assessed for replication of this initiative.
The Botswana national agricultural show attracted the farming community from all parts of Botswana who exhibited their products. The show also pulled other dignitaries including heads of ministries, the diplomatic corps, pupils and university students, and leaders of the international organisations. CCARDESA was part of the people who exhibited at the just ended show where over 200 people visited the CCARDESA stand to learn about its modus operandi in Botswana and the SADC region as a whole.